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Tuesday, June 02, 2015
June 2, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:51 PM :: 3647 Views

Fox, Henhouse: Caldwell Appoints Hanabusa to HART Board

UH Releases ‘implementation plan’ for control of Maunakea

Koa Ridge Arguments Before Supreme Court - State Prohibited From Rezoning "Potential" IALs?

EPA, State, Navy Agree on Red Hill Fuel Tank Upgrades

Communist Party: 'Aloha' best Hollywood feature about Hawaiian sovereignty movement

Study: Hawaii 5th Safest State

Kenoi entertainment funded in new budget, Scrutiny Expected

WHT: County Council members voted 7-2 to bolster their own district contingency accounts by another $10,000 to $100,000 each by chopping $90,000 from the county Office of Research and Development, nearly halving its budget for alternative energy projects....

A council majority also beat back a move to raid Mayor Billy Kenoi’s $23,000 entertainment account to buy Civil Defense radios. Only Puna Councilmen Greggor Ilagan, who introduced the measure, and Danny Paleka voted yes. That amendment was one of two unsuccessful amendments targeting the mayor’s entertainment account.

“The mayor is the chief executive officer of a huge operation,” said Hilo Councilman Aaron Chung, adding that top officials do have entertainment accounts.

He added that investigations into Kenoi’s purchasing card use may very well flow over to entertainment accounts, meaning money probably won’t be spent unless absolutely necessary.

“I think we’re going to have a lot of scrutiny on this item over the next year,” Chung said.

And, the council killed a new position for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to handle elder abuse complaints. Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille, the sole yes vote, wanted to trim $65,377 from the County Council’s postage budget to make permanent a position currently funded by a state grant.

“These guys are all kicked to the curb,” Wille said of seniors who live in county housing projects....

A round of council amendments added $49.1 million to Kenoi’s $146.5 million capital improvement budget. The projects on the lengthy list won’t be built, however, until funding is found for them.....

read ... Cronies Keep Kenoi Funded

State ethics chief might be headed for some trouble

Borreca: Ground zero for ethics in government is not the law, it is the enforcement.

For decades Hawaii politicians basically self-reported their compliance with the state ethics rules. If they were given a gift, it was up to the lawmaker to report it. If their income went up or down, if they got a new job, took out a loan or bought property, the public servant was supposed it report it to the state Ethics Commission.

Unreported gifts and meals, unreported jobs and unreported income only existed when they were reported. It was the sort of ethics law that only punished the honest.

Some things are changing with both the Honolulu Ethics Commission fining Council members for not reporting being wined and dined by lobbyists, and with Les Kondo, state Ethics Commission executive director, issuing blanket "Thou shall not" memos to legislators.

Reformers are saying, "There's a new sheriff in town."

Things went from simmering to high boil after House Speaker Joe Souki sent a four-page letter to the state Ethics Commission complaining about its "recent attempts to prohibit common and regular practices," including getting gifts, meals and charitable fundraiser tickets.

...The state Ethics Commission is right now mulling Kondo's reappointment as executive director and Souki said it was "coincidental" that his letter showed up at the same time as the reappointment discussion.

Kondo last week told commissioners: "It's not my job to tell people what they want to hear or let them do what they want to do. It's my job to do what's right, not what's popular."

Lawmakers already decide how many bullets the state's ethics sheriff carries. It would not be by coincidence if the Legislature also got to pick the sheriff....

read ... State ethics chief might be headed for some trouble

Obamacare: HMSA 50% Rate Hike on Individual Plans

SA: The Hawaii Medical Service Association has asked the state to approve a request to raise premiums for its individual Affordable Care Act health plans for 2016 by an average 49.1 percent, the highest rate request increase Hawaii's largest health insurer has ever made....

According to Gold, many of HMSA’s new members were previously uninsured, and often have serious health conditions that require expensive care. Health plans across the nation are increasing premiums as they face the same issue, he said.

"We’ve learned many of these members are using substantially more medical services and prescription drugs than we expected,” he said. "Now we have a much clearer understanding of the true cost of caring for these members.”

read ... Thanks, Obama

Will HEI Shareholders Approve NextEra Merger by June 10 Deadline?

HTH: HEI said a preliminary count indicated approximately 90 percent of the total votes cast, which represented approximately 70 percent of HEI’s outstanding shares, were in favor of the proposed merger. Shareholders representing about 23.7 million shares, or 22 percent of HEI’s total shares outstanding, have yet to vote.

In an email Monday, Marco Mangelsdorf, president of ProVision Solar and director of the Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative, a nonprofit group of Big Island community and business leaders exploring the idea of public ownership, said there was some surprise last month when the approval bar was not reached.

“It will be interesting to see whether HEI gets over the bar by next week,” he said. “If not, extending the vote again is a possibility, I would think. But extending the voting can only go on for so long until the procedural schedule is affected. It’s fair to say that we’re waiting on some pivotal news on the deal in the week to come.”

While publicly held companies commonly are allowed to proceed with a merger with a simple majority of their outstanding shares, HEI is required under Hawaii law to obtain approval from 75 percent.

HEI spokesman Cliff Chen said via email that it’s too early to speculate about whether the threshold would be reached by the June 10 meeting, but that the company is “encouraged” by the initial 90 percent approval percentage.

Chen did not respond to the Tribune-Herald’s question about whether a second extension could occur should HEI fail to secure the required votes....

HEI’s special meeting of shareholders reconvenes at 10 a.m. June 10 at the American Savings Bank Tower in Honolulu.

read ... Shareholders get extension to vote on HEI-NextEra merger

Rusting Junk: $1.6B Hawaii offshore wind energy project to be discussed Wednesday

PBN: Alpha Wind Energy’s planned $1.6 billion offshore wind energy project in federal waters off Oahu’s northwest and southern coasts will be discussed at a Wednesday event in Honolulu.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will present information on the two unsolicited lease requests received in January from Alpha Wind for a couple of wind energy projects.

The Hawaii Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force meeting also will explain the next steps in the process.

The event, which will be held from 9:10 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. at the Homer A. Maxey International Trade Resource Center at Honolulu Harbors Pier 2, will include speakers such as Joan Barminski, regional supervisor of the Office of Strategic Resources for the bureau’s Pacific Region; Leo Asuncion, acting director of the Office of Planning for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; Tracy Logan, Hawaii Task Force coordinator for bureau’s Pacific Region; Mark Eckenrode, National Environmental Policy Act coordinator and physical scientist of the Office of Environment for the bureau’s Pacific Region; and Mark Glick, administrator for the state Energy Office.

read ... Rusting Junk

Snookered: How Pseudoscience Gets Mainstreamed

KE: ...science journalist John Bohannon is chortling over how he tricked people into believing chocolate enhances weight loss for an expose on the junk science-diet industry. As he notes:

Here’s a dirty little science secret: If you measure a large number of things about a small number of people, you are almost guaranteed to get a “statistically significant” result.

Combine that with fake journal publishers, who don’t require any peer review, and unquestioning media, like TGI, and voila, bullshit is presented as fact. As Bohannon writes:

The promise of an “exclusive” story is very tempting, even if it’s fake. There was no quality control. That was left to the reporters. I felt a queasy mixture of pride and disgust as our lure zinged out into the world.

We landed big fish before we even knew they were biting. When reporters contacted me at all, they asked perfunctory questions. Not a single reporter seems to have contacted an outside researcher.

There was one glint of hope in this tragicomedy. While the reporters just regurgitated our “findings,” many readers were thoughtful and skeptical. In the online comments, they posed questions that the reporters should have asked.

Which is why the anti-GMO movement ridicules, attacks and shuns anyone who questions the bogus studies they rely on to support their anti-biotech claims.

And this, dear reader, is how the generally unquestioning public gets snookered, time and time again....

read ... Musings: Snookered

Three Perfectly Good Mauna Kea telescopes to go

AP: The University of Hawaii announced a plan Monday that will lead to the removal of several large telescopes on Mauna Kea.

School officials will meet with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources this week to discuss the decommissioning process....

read ... Thrown to the mob

Desperate: Ritte makes 'Groundless, Unfair' Charges over Haleakala Telescope

HNN: But two years after he issued an order giving the controversial, $300 million project the green light, the university awarded him with four contracts for legal work, budgeting $110,000 for the work. Three of those contracts were issued during a two-day period in October 2014.

Native Hawaiians who opposed the project said the contracts looks like a reward for his ruling.

"It just smells. It makes the process a stinky, a smelly process," said Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte. (And he has lots of experience with smelly, stinky processes.)

But UH officials said there's no connection. They said Ishida has completed three of the four contracts and has billed about $50,000 for the work, not the full $110,000.

"There is nothing unethical about what's being done here right now. He was hired properly," said U.H. spokesman Dan Meisenzahl.

"These kinds of allegations are groundless, really unfair." ...

UH officials said Ishida's hiring was vetted by panel of lawyers and was based on a objective scoring system.

NBC: Will Flying Saucer Rise Again? NASA Waits for Good Weather in Hawaii

read ... UH contract flap

'Aloha' About Bumpy's Shakedown of State, Bank

HP: In many ways, the true magic of "Aloha" is its hyperrealism. Had critics of the movie done their research, they would have discovered that in order to obtain the land for this village two decades ago, Bumpy and some three hundred Hawaiians occupied a well-known beach on Oahu for fourteen months and began building homes for the homeless in the process. In my son's college essay, he describes how my husband, Bumpy, and other activists took on Bank of America for discriminating against Hawaiians (and Filipinos) in its lending practices. What most filmgoers couldn't know is that in the scene where Bumpy, Cooper, and Stone are discussing promises made to the Hawaiian people, just outside the camera's view is a shelf full of files regarding Bank of America's unfulfilled commitment to the Hawaiian people, reminiscent of the numerous broken treaties the U.S. government has had with indigenous North American tribes.

DB: ‘Aloha’: What the Sony Hack Revealed About the Bomb, From Anxious Bradley Cooper to Bill Murray

read ... Al Sharpton

After Burning up all its money, Kahoolawe Commission outlines plans for scaled-down operations

MN: In an effort to cope with receiving only a third of its requested funds from the state Legislature, the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission expects to downsize its 18-member staff, with some taking pay cuts, others being reduced to part-time workers and two people losing their jobs.

Two positions will be cut starting in August, according to the 2016 fiscal year budget that the commission unanimously passed Monday. One person is expected to retire, two staff members would be reduced to part-time employees and three staff members are expected to be retained through grant funding.

Ten employees, mostly in administrative positions, will remain on the payroll, though they will take 5 percent cuts in pay.

The commission also may close its base camp at Honokanaia for two weeks every month, beginning in August, as a cost-cutting measure.

Flashback: Audit: Kahoolawe Money Gone After 18 years Without a Plan

read ... About the end

No-frills housing units target Waianae homeless

SA: City officials are proposing to install no-frills modular housing units in Waianae for homeless families, but are facing opposition from several residents who say the site is not a good fit.

Drafted by the city's Office of Strategic Development, the plan calls for three modular housing or compact units measuring about 400 to 500 square feet on a 7,500-square-foot city-owned lot. Each unit, which could remain functional for about 20 years, would cost about $35,000 to $50,000 and include a bathroom, kitchen sink and counter area.

City officials hope to have the units installed by this fall. If successful, the city would aim to expand the scope of the demonstration project to other sites, possibly also in Waianae.

read ... Target Waianae

City's latest plan to house the destitute involves modular or container-style units at Sand Island

SA: Mayor Kirk Caldwell is now looking at putting up modular or container-style transitional shelter units at Sand Island for between 75 and 100 of Honolulu's chronically homeless.

At a news briefing Tuesday, Caldwell is scheduled to provide details on the plan, which is aimed at helping those who fall in the most severe homeless category.

"We're looking at Sand Island as a prototype that we could do in other parts of our community," Caldwell said Monday.

The new plan calls for units to be 40 or 53 square feet in size, or three or four units per 8-foot by 20-foot container....

The city is calling for vendors of modular or container-style units to submit proposals for the structures to be used at the location.

A second request for proposals focuses on managing operations.

The first part is expected to cost about $500,000, which would come out of the $32 million homeless/affordable housing contribution earmarked by the City Council. Operations are anticipated to cost between $750,000 and $800,000 annually.

Pfund said she anticipates the facility operating by early fall.

The new plan for Sand Island is similar to a proposal for several modular or container style units in Waianae, except the planned three units will each be about 400 to 500 square feet and geared toward families....

read ... Ocean Front Housing

Child Molester gets 8 Years for Kiddie Porn

SA: Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Hattan told Mollway that Quimoyog took advantage of a drug-addicted runaway girl 22 years his junior by providing her a home and methamphetamine. She asked Mollway to impose the maximum 10-year prison sentence....

In the 20 years since, Hattan said, the victim has struggled and has recent federal convictions. As the victim was getting her life together, she learned of the video and reported it to authorities.

read ... Porn

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